Tuesday, May 25, 2010

iPad first impressions

A few weeks ago I blogged about Apple's $500 laptop, which I referred to as the iPad. I had thought about it as Apple's answer to the Windows-based netbooks more than Apple's answer to the Kindle, but after spending some time using an iPad recently, my impression is that the iPad is more in between a netbook and a Kindle. For those who have an iPhone and an iPod touch, it is really for the most part a larger version of these devices. The main advantage of course is the larger screen which is bright and crisp, and the larger touch keyboard (for those of us who've had problems using the iPhone and iPod touch keyboard, the iPad's keyboard doesn't have the same typing challenges).

So my first impression was really a combination of great, this is cool, to not so cool, it's just a large iPhone/iPod touch. Then I tried out the iBook app, and flipping through the pages was pretty cool, but when I tried holding it like a book (standing up) I thought it's a little heavier than I expected. The iPad is larger than a Kindle so it allows you to read the book in landscape mode so you can see both pages (which is how we usually hold a book anyway), but it got me thinking that a smaller iPad about the size of the Kindle would attract me enough if only because it would also weight less. Plus I think reducing the screen size to the size of the Kindle's screen wouldn't hurt the ability to view webpages in full size vs. the impossibility of doing this on the iPhone/iPod touch's mobile screens.

And for the smaller size (and weight) maybe the price will also drop to say $399, which at that price point brings it to less than double the price of the Kindle and close to the price of a basic netbook. We'll see if Apple will do this, but judging from their past practice with the iPod and the iPhone, we may see a smaller, less pricey, and more capable iPad in 6 months and then the marketplace will really be very competitive across these various devices and consumers will have the best choices available to them at prices they will find hard to resist.

Magical and Revolutionary? If we had never seen the iPhone/iPod touch, yes the iPad would be truly magical and revolutionary. But we expect much more from Apple now, so simply introducing a larger version of these devices is not enough to impress us ... so we eagerly await version 2.

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